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Suggested Citation:"PREFACE." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23364.
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Page 6
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"PREFACE." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23364.
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Page 7

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FOREWORD By Staff Transportation Research Board PREFACE Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which in- formation already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a conse- quence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solv- ing or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such use- ful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Co- operative Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee author- ized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, “Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems,” searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP re- port series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. The synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each re- port in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those meas- ures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. This synthesis will be of interest to transit agency staff responsible for vehicle opera- tions and planning and to those who work with them in this regard. Staff can use this re- port to learn from the experiences of other agencies and to compare their experiences with those of others. It documents and summarizes transit agency experiences with “flexible transit services,” including all types of hybrid services that are not pure de- mand-responsive (including dial-a-ride and ADA paratransit) or fixed-route services, but that fall somewhere in between those traditional service models. The report documents six types of flexible transit service: request stops, flexible route segments, route devia- tion, point deviation, zone routes, and demand-responsive connector service. This report from the Transportation Research Board integrates information from sev- eral sources. It is based on data collected from a review of the relevant literature and a survey of transit agencies. Twenty-four transit agencies provided information. Survey re- sponses were supplemented by follow-up interviews with transit agency staff and refer- ence to service descriptions available on transit agency websites. A panel of experts in the subject area guided the work of organizing and evaluating the collected data and reviewed the final synthesis report. A consultant was engaged to collect and synthesize the information and to write the report. Both the consultant and the members of the oversight panel are acknowledged on the title page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in re- search and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 53: Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services examines transit agency experiences with “flexible transit services,” including all types of hybrid services that are not pure demand-responsive (including dial-a-ride and Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit) or fixed-route services, but that fall somewhere in between those traditional service models.

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